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Why does two oxygen atoms combine to form a molecule and not 3 or 4?Also why does one sodium and one chlorine atom combine to form NaCl while two chlorine atoms are required to combine with one magnesium atom to form MgCl2?I want to know what is happening at the molecular lever that triggers these combinations?

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    $\begingroup$ Have you read e.g. the Wikipedia article on chemical bonds? Also, this does seem to be more a chemistry than a physics question. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind
    Commented May 23, 2015 at 13:35
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    $\begingroup$ @ACuriousMind-i read iin the feynman lecture on physics that-It is the job of physics to analyze why each one(atoms) wants what it wants. $\endgroup$
    – Harmonic
    Commented May 23, 2015 at 13:40
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    $\begingroup$ Just about all science can be linked back to physics. It's the mother of all science. But I agree the chemists will better address your question. $\endgroup$
    – docscience
    Commented May 23, 2015 at 14:07
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about chemistry not physics. It would be mire at home on the Chemistry SE. $\endgroup$ Commented May 23, 2015 at 15:52

2 Answers 2

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Three oxygen atoms do form a molecule (look up "ozone").

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Chemical bonds occur because of the outer electron shell also known as a valence electron shell. Oxygen has six electrons and it's valence shell. An atom wants 8 electrons in its valence shell. They both decide to share two electrons. That way they both have full valence shells. NaCl works because Cl wants 1 more electron and Na wants to get 7 more. Mg needs 2.

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